Tuesday, November 04, 2008

One Flew Over the Pundant's Nest


Since today is election day here in the good ol' U.S of A, I thought I'd do a politically flavored post. No, I'm not going to discuss the candidates or how I voted this go-round, because let's face it...aren't we all just a little sick of this political season that has lasted longer than most college careers? That being said, the basis of most of my sci-fi and fantasy novels/novellas is politics. Oh, not the Republican V. Democrat variety, but ones developed from my own twisted and slightly off-centered mined. Creating entire political systems and forms of government is so much fun for me. I actually get to be the architect of the halves and the have nots.

What a heady feeling.

When it comes to the types of government, well that's just as varied as the plots themselves. I have theocracies, coucils, assemblies, senates, regents, monarchies, and some forms I made up completely that may or may not be based on something I read in a history reference somewhere. Sometimes, I'll even drop more than one system in a book, if I have two countries warring with each other. But the message here is that no matter what system is used, it has great importance to the characters and their actions. Laws must be written and upheld as a framework for which the characters live within - or not - depending on the conflicts, motivations and ultimate goal. Generally, the hero or heroine are fighting against the system, or those who would upset the status quo -either outside their borders or within.

In one of my sci-fi novels, Diplomatic Relations, Semma Paris - a human living on an alien space station and a member of the diplomatic corps - must find her tween son who is lost during a terrorist attack on a foreign planet. His father, Tragon Pas-Arhon - a commander in the service of an ambassador, and a native of said planet - must work with governements once hostile to his own in order to save he and Semma's son. In the background of this tale, which is at its core, one of family, is the negoitations to mine a valuable mineral found only on Tragon's homeworld.

Government plays a large part in Diplomatic Relations. Almost to the point of becoming another character. (The problem was coming up with several forms for all the different worlds coming for the negoiations and their separate reasons for needing the mining rights.) The main body of Trehet Prime (the Malatelle homeworld or Tragon's home.) is an elected chancellor as the leader, who rules with a council of elders. The council maintains the integrity of the cultural traditions while navigating an ever-increasing universal view. It's sometimes a slippery slope when one has inter-stellar travel.

Writing the intricacies of how a country works is a fascinating part of the world building. Sometimes it grows organically from the time period of the story. However, me being me...I like to turn things on their heads. So, a fantasy peice that takes place in a medieval-based world, might be one ruled by a type of Roman senate rather than an absolute monarch as one would expect. And a high-tech world might be ruled by a council of wizards or priests.

Whichever form of government I choose for my stories, one thing is always a must - it has to feel real and it has to be able to create as much conflict as the characters themselves. Everything else is just boring.

-Kat

3 comments:

Savanna Kougar said...

Yep, everything else is just boring.

Xandra Gregory said...

I get lost in making up governments, too. I tend to write in dystopian futures, and with all the ways governments can really screw the pooch, it's a rather target-rich environment, LOL. It's hard to pick just one.

However, I'm also an optimist by nature, and tend to want to believe the best of people, so I have to really push myself to think, "would somebody really be that crazy and run a government like that?" And then I open up the newspaper and am reassured that my wacked-out made-up political systems are nothing compared to wacked-out political reality. :D Except my fictional systems have to make sense, LOL!

Savanna Kougar said...

Xandra, ain't that the truth!!!